39 Wrong Ways to Stand Out at Interviews

Wrong Reasons to Stand Out
Written by Jonathan

Having interviewed hundreds of candidates over the years I was thinking about what made some candidates stand out for the wrong reasons.

Here’s my list. Just don’t tell anyone, but I’ve done a few of these too.

39 Wrong Ways

  1. Turning up late
  2. Turning up late and not apologising
  3. Turning up late to the second interview after turning up late to the first and not apologising
  4. Never turning up at all
  5. Reading your script whilst presenting
  6. Looking at your appearance in a window whilst presenting
  7. Having gaps on your CV
  8. Not tailoring your CV to the role
  9. Typos on the CV particularly when you say attention to detail is a key strength
  10. Blaming others
  11. Being aggressive
  12. Pointing fingers aggressively
  13. Looking scruffy
  14. Perspiring
  15. Telling the interviewer one thing and then using your recruitment agent to say something else
  16. Being disinterested in the interviewer
  17. Not listening
  18. Not answering the question
  19. Not closing the interview, particularly if it’s a sales role
  20. Trying to take control of the interview at the start
  21. Being arrogant
  22. Having the last word
  23. Being dishonest
  24. Not understanding your weaknesses
  25. Having no questions to ask an interviewer
  26. Failing to engage interviewers (when more than one in the room)
  27. Only coming prepared for a presentation with nothing more than just a USB key
  28. Being rude
  29. Being impolite to other people you come into contact with
  30. Talking too much
  31. Talking too much and not answering the question
  32. Poor research for the role and company
  33. Attempting to ‘wing it’ in the interview
  34. Being dressed inappropriately
  35. Using catch-all words such as ‘challenge’, ‘motivated’ etc.
  36. Being too laid back
  37. Negative about previous employer(s) and colleagues
  38. Using inappropriate language
  39. Keeping a tissue to blow your nose in your bra (yes this really did happen)

My question is, what have you done to stand out for the wrong reasons? What would you add to the list?


YES! I want to stand out at interviews.

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